Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Midlife Crisis

An interview with Michael Apted the director of Gorillas In The Mist and the 7Up film series that follows a group fo Brits for the last 42 years. Apted has chronicled the lives of a dozen people since they were 7 years old, every seven years. I have seen this movie twice in it's 28Up and 35 Up incarnations. No wonder I am a reality tv fan, huh?

Apted says, "This film is only a portrait of people who were born in 1956. Class is still in the back of the national brain, but it's loosened up in considerable amounts since then. So this doesn't present an accurate portrait of England now, but just an accurate portrait of a generation of people. And even then it's skewed because what I missed in all that was the middle classes, which in the end proved to be the most mobile and the most threatened and the most volatile of all of them. Of course, the film outgrew its political roots fairly quickly. The class thing, although it's always been the kind of underpinning of the film, became I think, less and less important."

And...

" The only pure documentary I've ever heard of was Andy Warhol pointing a camera for eight hours at the Empire State Building."

8 comments:

Lynn said...

I too have watched these series of documentaries over the years.
The anthropology of it amazes me.
I was fortunate enough to have this type of anthropologist come and visit us.
In Ontario we have gone through a huge change in our education system. This changes forces kids into University at the age of 17. If you live in a country that has done this for generations it is no big deal. But our education system had kids going into University at 19. So our kids in the first phase of this had no confidence and were afraid to be making decisions about their career future in grade 9 and 10. My son was one of those students. We had an anthropologist adviser come in and counsel us. We needed to all be counselled on three generations changing their expectations and preparations for the future. It was an amazing experience. In real life this man advises PHD students on how to plan their future.

FOUR DINNERS said...

They did something like that over here. I think they're all dead now. Or junkies or pimps or, even worse, politicians

Red said...

I too have caught only a couple of the 7Up films. They are quite wonderful, sometimes sad (the guy who became homeless), at times uplifting (the same guy!). However, I'm not sure that the class thing has become less important over the years. As an outsider to the British class system, I am always surprised by how much they go on about it. And all the bloody time too!

Candy Minx said...

Hmm...it is a challenge to cnsider that a kids goals at 15 might be the ones they will study for and practice. That is very interesting Lynn. I have many thoughts on this kind of guidance and the educational system. personally...I don't think kids should go to school at all really. I am a home school and mentor/apprenticeship advocate.

I think many of the courses taught in University are really bizarre. There was a time that kids could graduate high school and go for a carreer. maybe not lawyer, or doctor, but many many choices. John Irving has had this phenomenon in a couple of his novels. His protagonist goes has had an almost British "provincial education". Like Shakespeares.

Did you know that in the school that shakespeare attended and his peers, they memorized Ovid at nine years old. Unfortuantely, they also practiced corporal punishment to get the kids to learn by rote.

But this symbolizes the very real aspect of children...they are incredibly intelligent and able to grasp and memorize and learn vast and varied amounts of study materials. Little kids can memorize all the dinosaurs and hundreds of animal species. Usually from their tv viewing!

I think the concept of university training is totally fine at 17....kids can handle the academic aspects. The worry is surrounding keg parties and peer pressure for sex and drug usage.

I thinka more digestable form of learning would be to just incorporate university corriculums at early ages in public schools and combine a kind of apprenticeship and school program for children.

Gender tolerance, sociology and comparative philosophies can be taught at home with well read and open minded parents.

Unfortunately, until these kinds of parents are raised themselves families and young people are at the mercy of money-hungry corporate structures like Universities.

The second most stressful aspect of a kid going to University earlier besides the sex, drugs and drinking...is raising the huge out of proportion finacial burden SOONER so younger kids can attend these conglomerates.

What did I learn in university? To discuss lifes issues with my friends, ignore authority figures, and forget everything I was programmed to believe by society.

But I was one of the lucky ones, ha ha ha!

On top of that, it wasn't my profs that taught me those valuable life skills.

God love ya Lynn...and thanks for such an informative incredible comment here. You really made my day. Blog land has been awful slow the last couple of days!

Candy Minx said...

4 Dinners, these are the films made in your neck of the woods. yes, some of them did have some struggles with drugs and fame!

Red, Apparently the founding fathers of America defined a country without class. Hmm...Chicago is a wonderful city to explore class. I agree with you that I think Apted is wrong about class mattering less these days.

As I've said before disenfranchisement either finacially or morally leads to nihlism and that is the personality of a terrorist. The inside job of the tragic July 7th bombs last year indicates a special kind of class war.

Lynn said...

hey I am back Candy Minx,
I too have been to Jim Morrison's grave. She we both travelled to Paris to go walk on bones!

* (asterisk) said...

I've seen bits of these films over the years. They are always fascinating, and it woul be great to see them released in a DVD boxset someday. As to the Warhol Empire film, I don't know. I think the 7Up series comes pretty close to the ultimate in documentary. There was a great show on over here a couple of months ago: the top 50 documentaries ever made. Many were British made-for-TV docs, often BBC (but then it was a UK-based poll); things that have never seen the light of day since. A great shame.

Candy Minx said...

Well, Britian has a groundbreaking tradition with documentaries. it wouldn't surprise em that they are tops in the genre. Thier also is a strong commitment through patrons and subsidies to support the documntary film making community there.